EBU Reduced Audit Decision
County Shareholders are in receipt several emails on this matter:
1. Ian Payn’s Audit Consultation email of 7 July – Outlining audit reduction proposal from Kay Preddy, Treasurer and requesting disagreement responses to Ian Payn by 18 July
2. Kay Preddy’s explanatory email of 11 July – Outlining the differences between full audit and reduced audit
3. Ian Payn’s email of 19 July – Confirming a significant mandate for progressing the reduced audit and commencement of audit instruction to that effect. Also, confirmation that discussions on reduced audit format will be opened in due course.
4. IanPayn’s email of 9 September – Confirming that the decision had been made to proceed and setting out the suggested areas to be assurance validated. Requesting that shareholders not satisfied with the areas suggested, email their non-approval, including reasons, to reach Ian by the 16 September. Non-response to be taken as approval by shareholder(s).
As Shareholders have financial oversight responsibility of the EBU, any change to audit must be made with the explicit agreement of Shareholders. So, it is correct that Ian should poll Shareholder opinion on 7 July before submitting an audit change proposal for Shareholder agreement.
Yorkshire Shareholders responded on 12 July to Ian’s 7 July email, stating that we disagreed with the proposal in its present form. Thus, leaving open the opportunity for dialogue. No response has been received to date from the EBU.
We were shocked to receive Ian’s 19 July email.
The 19 July email is confusing as at no time were we aware that Shareholders were voting for change. Also, if the EBU took this as a vote rather than merely opinion sought, why has there been no explanation of the voting split. It seems that the EBU has taken this into closed decision session whilst there was adequate time available to make this an open Shareholder decision. The minutes of the EBU Board in June confirm that this would be taken to an EGM.
The 9 September email is equally perplexing.
Consultation can be viewed as a spectrum. At one extreme is simply informing the affected party that change is to take place. At the other extreme is mutual agreement before change with meaningful dialogue (and being ready to adjust change) sitting at the centre of the spectrum. The EBU behaviour is clearly close to the “information only” extreme whilst the EBU Shareholder structure requires Shareholder agreement to be enacted.
To give only seven days to raise Shareholder objection, taking non-response as affirmation of change and not accepting that any objection will be taken into the pre-decision process, is an insult to the integrity of the Shareholder structure.
Ian states that the decision has been made. It is unclear where and who has made this decision other than the Shareholders. It is important that Shareholders collectively seek an urgent open discussion and their decision on this matter.
The EBU seem to be attempting to downgrade the financial oversight authority of the Shareholders to minimal consultation only, For that reason, regardless of your County’s opinion of this particular change’s worth we are asking all County’s to encourage your Shareholder representatives to write to us (at firstname.lastname@example.org) to state that they require an open discussion on the audit change. We require a further eight Shareholders to show this intent to force an open discussion and vote at either EGM or the November AGM. Please also contact us initially at this email address if you would like to discuss County to County before taking any considered action.
Nick Woolven, Lesley Millet, Puline Hart-Stout, David Guild